Afghans Turning Their Babies Into Addicts

Poor Afghans view opium as a 'tradition'
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2011 9:41 AM CST
FILE - In this file photo made on Feb. 2, 2010, an Afghan doctor, left, checks the blood pressure of an addicted girl at the Sanga Amaj Treatment Center run by Social Services for Afghan Women (SSAW)...   (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq, File)
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(Newser) – In a remote corner of northern Afghanistan, a woman feeds her four-year-old opium for breakfast. Her mother-in-law, sitting nearby, rolls some opium into a ball-shaped piece and puts it in her mouth. Three generations are addicted to the drug in this family, and there are many more Afghans like them, reports CNN, which says the desperately poor nation has more than one million addicts.

"We don't have anything to eat. That is why we have to work and use drugs to keep our kids quiet," said the mother-in-law. Confirms a doctor at the family's closest rehab facility, "If a child cries, they give him opium, if they can't sleep, they use opium, if an infant coughs, they give them opium." But that facility is located more than four hours away—too far to be of any help to the poor family of carpet weavers. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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